Do you have a work project you’re putting off? Maybe something that’s challenging or just not very enjoyable? If you find yourself having trouble getting started, there’s a simple trick that can help you break through the barrier of procrastination: do a Pomodoro.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system where you break your work into uninterrupted blocks of 25 minutes called Pomodoros. After one Pomodoro, you take a five minute break and after four Pomodoros, you take a longer 15-20 minute break. The idea is that you do better work if you focus exclusively on a task for 25 minutes, and your mind stays fresh when you take short, regular breaks.
There are two reasons Pomodoros work so well for beating procrastination:
- You can get a surprising amount of work done in 25 uninterrupted minutes. It’s a small amount of time, but when you’re working on just one thing during that time, the results can be impressive.
- In just 25 minutes, you ease the mental weight of having a task hanging over your head. By starting the project, you bring it from the realm of thought and avoidance into the realm of tangible, in-progress work.
Once you’ve done your Pomodoro, you can stop. Well done! You are no longer procrastinating. Your goal was to get moving on your project and you did.
You may find, however, that you want to continue working. Once the creative juices are flowing, the momentum carries you along. Take your five minute break then carry on. If you get as far as a fourth Pomodoro, pat yourself on the back and take a 15-20 minute break.
Ready to give Pomodoros a try? Next time you find yourself bumping a project from day to day on your to-do list, just give it 25 minutes of focused attention. You might be surprised at how much you can get done.
What do you do when you find yourself procrastinating? Do you have a strategy or technique that works for you? In the comments, please share your tips.
Photo by davejdoe (CC-BY-20)